Boris Yeltsin said Tuesday that he has asked Soviet President Mikhail Gorbachev to join him in forming a "coalition government of national unity" to solve the country's grave problems.
Yeltsin, the Russian Federation president, said he suggested to Gorbachev in a Sunday meeting that the Russian parliament be given the right to choose the Soviet government's premier, defense minister and finance minister.Gorbachev's spokesman Vitaly Ignatenko indicated Sunday's meeting had been heated, but denied a government crisis and said Gorbachev would soon respond. "It doesn't mean the government should resign," he said.
"Mikhail Sergeevich (Gorbachev) will find a way to relate his impressions of this meeting," Ignatenko said. "I think we are trying to present this meeting as more sensational than it was in reality.
"The discussion was very acute, polemic, but constructive," Ignatenko said.
Yeltsin told deputies that he also told Gorbachev that he objected to the central government's practice of signing treaties with foreign countries without consulting the Russian Supreme Soviet, or legislature.
The meeting Sunday lasted four and a half hours. It included a two-hour session between the two leaders themselves before their government chiefs joined them, Soviet Premier Nikolai Ryzhkov and Ivan Silayev for Russia. Yeltsin's deputy, Ruslan Khasbulatov, also participated.
Yeltsin said Gorbachev "in principle supported the idea" of a coalition government that would increase the power Yeltsin currently yields as effective president of the Russian Federation. There was no immediate comment from Gorbachev.
"We are not making claims to a lot," Yeltsin said. "But we expressed desire about three posts - the head of the government, and the ministers of defense and finance."
The arrangement, he said, would be a "completely new system of state power - the formation of a coalition government of national unity."
Yeltsin said Monday that he and Gorbachev had set up two panels to decide how to divide oil, gold and other natural resources between the central government and Russia, by far the largest of the 15 Soviet republics.
Yeltsin said he assured Gorbachev that he is not trying to break up the Soviet Union through his aggressive leadership of the dominant republic, which began May 29 when the Russian Parliament made him its chairman.
But the burly Siberian, citing the Soviet Union's just-concluded treaty with unified Germany, complained to Gorbachev that the Russian Federation leadership is being excluded from key foreign policy decisions.
"This (the pact with Germany) and other agreements in no small measure affect the interests of Russia," Yeltsin said.
Lithuania to issue own coins
Lithuania has ordered the issuing of its own coins, which could remove the Baltic republic from the Soviet currency system, the Izvestia newspaper said Monday.
Minting of the small and large denomination coins is an open declaration that Lithuania has no desire to stay in a new reconstituted Soviet Union in which only one currency will exist.
The Soviet government newspaper Izvestia said that the secessionist-bent republic is also preparing to issue its own paper money, "lits."
Lits, a hard currency, were legal tender during the republic's statehood between World Wars I and II.